For many people, achieving firm thighs is a major fitness goal. If you want taut, lean upper legs, however, you should know that targeted toning exercises, while important, are only part of the fitness equation. In order to attain firm thighs, you should combine challenging upper leg exercises with a fat-blasting cardiovascular workout program and a healthful, low-calorie diet. For thighs that are truly beach-ready, you may also wish to use a lotion or cream that tightens sagging skin and reduces the appearance of cellulite.
Begin your quest for firm thighs with exercises that challenge and tighten your upper leg muscles. Two of the best moves for this area are the exercise ball squat and the lunge. Performing two sets of these exercises three times per week can quickly strengthen your thigh muscles.
To perform the exercise ball squat, start by positioning an exercise ball between your lower back and a stable wall. With your feet shoulder-width apart, slowly lower your body into a sitting pose, hold for five seconds, and then return to a standing position. Be sure to keep your back straight and allow the ball to roll with you as you move. Begin with six repetitions, building up to 12 repetitions as your muscles grow stronger.
Start the lunge by standing with your back held straight and your feet spread slightly apart. Take a long step forward with your right leg and then dip your upper body so that your right thigh is parallel to the floor while your left knee is nearly touching the floor. Your upper body should remain straight, and your right knee should not extend past your toes. Use your right leg to move your body back into the starting position. Perform ten to 12 repetitions and then switch sides, leading with your left leg instead of your right.
Firm thighs are not a product of toning alone. Excess body fat can hide even the strongest leg muscles. Thus to show off the results of your toning efforts, you should eliminate extra fat by combining regular cardiovascular exercise with a nutritious, low-calorie diet.
Cardiovascular exercise raises your heart rate and stimulates your metabolism, burning calories and strengthening your heart along the way. A good cardiovascular workout is basically anything that gets your heart pumping and increases your rate of respiration for a sustained period. Choose an activity you enjoy — jogging, biking, swimming, hiking, and dancing are just a few possibilities — and do it for 45 to 60 minutes, three to four times per week.
A healthy, balanced diet is also crucial to the fat loss that leads to firm thighs. Try to eat plenty of nutritious, unprocessed foods, like vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. To achieve a craving-busting feeling of fullness, aim to take in 25 to 30 grams of fiber each day. In addition, limit your overall dietary intake to between 1,500 and 2,000 calories daily.
Finally, if loose skin or lumpy cellulite are preventing your toned-up thighs from looking firm, you might consider trying a lotion or cream to improve their appearance. These products, widely available from US drugstores, commonly contain ingredients like caffeine, algae, and retinoids, which manufacturers claim can firm the skin after repeated use. It should be noted that any improvements derived from these products are strictly temporary and will disappear shortly after discontinuing use.